What A 9-5 Link Builder Does After Penguin

by Barrie Smith October 10th, 2012 

penguin-warning

Since the Google Panda and Penguin updates earlier this year there seems to have been a lot of widespread panic over the internet. At least from what I read on blogs, blog comments, forum posts etc. Perhaps I was one of the fortunate few not to have my sites negatively impacted by these algorithmic changes.

However, it has certainly changed the way I work as a link builder. On top of that, the company I work for on a 9-5 basis have brought on clients specifically to fix their penalty issues caused by these changes. More work? I have no problem with that.

So yes, some things have changed. But this is nothing new within the SEO industry. Things are always evolving.

Post-Penguin Work

The biggest effects Panda and Penguin have had is the quality of links required, not just to get closer to, or stay in position 1, but also so that you don't get yourself kicked out. This was long overdue. With the exception of gambling websites (and maybe a few other industries), link builders cannot go out and build any ol' link to push themselves up the rankings anymore.

So that rules out directory submissions, low quality link exchanges, pay per post websites and all the stuff lazy link builders and website owners would pay a few pennies for to increase their rankings. The result being that a lot of these sites have now been penalized! Karma!

Dave Snyder was the first conference speaker I can recall saying (and reiterating numerous times) "build good links and avoid the cheap, dodgy ones because Google will catch up with you". That was a few years back. And sure enough, out came Panda and Penguin, and those that didn't listen, those that didn't hear and those that didn't care almost-certainly paid the price.

One thing that is a little more difficult, a little more frustrating is how webmasters are a lot more internet savvy these days. More frustrating in the sense that a lot of these are asking for money to publish your article. A lot of these webmasters often don't care about the quality of your article, perhaps don't even read it and they're just happy to take the payment to publish it.

These updates have also forced us to become more creative with our writing. Some clients even employ freelance writers to help produce content and turn briefs into solid articles that we can publish on third party websites. Indeed, 2012 seems to be the year of the freelance writer.

Pre And Post-Penguin Work

Some things remain the same. There are tasks I've been carrying out since day 1 in this job (October represents year 8 ) that are still an important part of SEO, link building and online marketing in general. And I seemingly never get bored of those.

One of the most important daily, weekly, monthly tasks is to check Analytics. It's all Google Analytics these days following the recent shutdown of Yahoo! Analytics. What keywords are getting the most traffic, what keywords could/should be getting more traffic, which sites are referring the most traffic, which blog on your site has been read the most etc. etc. All hindered by [Not Provided] of course. This helps us to work out what is working, what sites we could do with publishing content on again, what links are working etc.

As well as checking Analytics, checking your rankings in Google is important too. There are a couple of paid tools out there that track your website's rankings. Although from experience I've still yet to come across one that is very efficient. I also keep the rankings in a spreadsheet for all of my clients. This helps me build graphs and speeds up each client's report at the start of each month.

Guest posting wasn't something I was doing 8 years ago. But that and communicating with journalists and bloggers alike is something we were doing pre-2012 and is something that has grown significantly since the aforementioned updates. It's now more important than ever. Identifying guest post opportunities has become a bigger part of my job more than ever in 2012. This includes working out priority targets once you have the list of sites, how we're going to approach the site, what link building method to use etc.

Keeping an eye on your competitors goes without saying. Track their rankings like you do your own website, track what they're blogging about/what they're doing on their own site. And see what sites they're publishing/building links on (Majestic SEO is perfect for this).

Checking and responding to emails goes without saying. I receive plenty of emails on a daily basis; from clients, potential blogger outreach/guest posting opportunities, Google alerts, you name it. The list seems to get bigger year on year. Receiving and making phone calls is another daily activity. Arranging and attending meetings are more of a monthly thing, nothing's changed in that sense.

One thing that I was big on when I first entered the digital marketing world, one thing that I kept an eye on throughout the years, and one thing that has become as important as it has ever been following Google's changes in 2012 is to keep up-to-date with the latest industry news. Search Engine People is a good place to start, whilst Barry Schwartz is the best at breaking the news on algorithm updates and changes in the SEO world.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy What Building 10,000 Links Taught Me About The Top 3 Link Building Myths (+ 3 Essentials That Work!)

Barrie Smith

Written by Barrie - a Link Building Consultant for Receptional Ltd. Follow Barrie on Twitter and Google+ for more updates on Google Panda, Penguin and Link Building.

Receptional blog

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3 Responses to “What A 9-5 Link Builder Does After Penguin”

  1. Maciej Fita says:

    It is certainly a different world now with link building. The one thing I don't think should happen is a website owner to get penalized because a link might not be as "quality" as a link that might be sitting on a main stream media outlet. Launching a business profile because you have a business and that is an outlet designed to list your company shouldn't penalize you in anyway but I think it soon might if you are not careful. My answer, heavy social media and content marketing.

  2. Garrett says:

    I feel little pity for most of the people who had their sites crushed by Panda and Penguin. In most cases, they knew exactly what they were doing as they amassed ridiculous quantities of extremely low quality links.

    I do however feel for those who hired an SEO firm they thought was reputable only to find out months/years later that they employed extremely shady practices. It's just such an awful and incredible mess to have to clean up. No wonder so many people just start over rather than going to the bother.

    As you say, going for quality and a white-hat approach is the way to go. Google's algorithms will only improve, so to future-proof you need to do things the right way right now, and not wait until later.

  3. Jay says:

    What criteria do you use to say a link is a quality one?
    PR? Domain Authority? Blog general impression?